A Scholarly Conversation
Assignment: Select an exhibit that raises or exemplifies an intellectual problem. Then choose two or three of the following texts to work with: Cronon, Nash, Vance, Price, or Turner. Write an essay of 1700-2100 words in which you use close-reading of your exhibit through the conversation between your chosen texts to make a claim. By orchestrating this scholarly conversation and making a contribution to it you should make an original argument that shows your audience a new way to interpret/understand your chosen exhibit and its broader implications.
Audience: Your audience for this essay is another Columbia undergraduate who is unfamiliar with your exhibit and texts. Your rhetorical goal is to convince your reader not only that you are right, but also why your exhibit is worth making claims about and that this problem is worth exploring.
? Continue to develop the skills introduced in the first essay: identify a problem, make a claim, close-read effectively, use structure to present your argument clearly and effectively, establish motive and exigence.
? Create a rich, original argument about your exhibit that develops with exploration and deals with potential counter-arguments or complications. This argument should arise out of the conversation you orchestrate.
? Use your sources thoughtfully and deliberately. Fairly assess their uses and limitations; engage with them ethically and characterize them accurately. Sources can: establish motive, provide useful key terms, support your claim, or challenge/complicate your claim or the claim of another text. Use quotes and paraphrases judiciously. Practice ICE: introduce, cite, explain.
? Integrate your sources and put them in conversation with one another and with your own ideas.
? Structure your paragraphs and your entire essay with cohesion and coherence. Build your argument through structure in a way that clearly and powerfully conveys your ideas.
A note on the term exhibit: An exhibit can be a text, event, news story, work of art, performance, speech, image, or anything that can be interpreted, and so carries the potential for analysis. We use the term “exhibit” rather than “example” to convey a site of sustained and expansive examination. While an example merely supports an argument, an exhibit incites one. It is dynamic in that it can raise problems with our status quo understanding, and our understanding may grow and change through thoughtful exploration. (definition adapted from Sue Mendelsohn)
Include citations and a Works Cited page in MLA style. Essays must be in a 12-point font, double- spaced, with at least one-inch margins. Include page numbers and essay word count.
Sources to use:
Cronon – “The trouble with wilderness”
Nash – “Why Wilderness”